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Category: Witness

Overcoming Evil With Good in Charleston, SC

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Topic: Forgiveness
Scripture: Romans 12:21; 1 Corinthians 13:8, 13; Matthew 5:44-45; 1 Peter 3:9
Source: “Chris Singleton Opens Up About Losing Mother In Charleston Mass Shooting” by Maxwell Strachan, Posted HUFFINGTON POST, 06/19/2015
Author: Illustration Exchange

“Chris Singleton, whose mother, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, died during the shooting rampage in Charleston, South Carolina, on Wednesday [6/17/15], delivered a powerful message to the world on Thursday evening: No matter how much hate there is in the world, it’s no match for love,” reports the HUFFINGTON POST.

Singleton is a 2nd year baseball player at Charleston Southern University, a faith-based school affiliated with the South Carolina Baptist Convention. His coach and teammates stood beside him as he addressed reporters just hours after learning of his mother’s murder. “Love is stronger than hate,” said Singleton. “So if we just love the way my mom would, then the hate won’t be anywhere close to where the love is.”

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Join The Wretched Club

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Topic: Witness
Scripture: I Timothy 1:15-16
Source: “The Duggar Disaster” by Todd Friel, posted CHRISTIAN POST/Christian Post Blog, 5/22/15
Author: Todd Friel

“There are two groups of people who should not be shocked to discover that a member of the Duggar family is a sinner,” says Todd Friel, writing for the CHRISTIAN POST, “Christians and non-Christians.” This, he says, is what makes the Josh Duggar story a disaster.

Christian Surprise

The subject line from an email sent by a popular Christian website stated: “Christian world rocked.” Really?

Based on his own admission, Josh sinned, repented and got saved. Why in the world would Christians be appalled to discover an unregenerate 14-year-old boy acted wickedly? …

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An Angel Among Us

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Topic: Hope
Scripture: Mark 16:15; Isaiah 61:1; 1 Timothy 2:5
Author: Illustration Exchange

Despite owning a home perched atop a high cliff with a scenic ocean view in Sydney, Australia, Don and Moya Ritchie live on a plot of real estate that can best be described as something out of a bad dream. The rocky cliff is known as The Gap–the most notorious suicide destination in the country.

While most people would surely move away, the Ritchies have stayed for almost 50 years, saving an estimated 160 people from taking the leap.

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The Sound of Pounding Footsteps

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Topic: Atheism
Scripture: Romans 10:15; 1 Peter 2:15
Source: As quoted in THE REAL FACE OF ATHEISM, revised and updated edition, by Ravi Zacharias, p. 135.
Author: Ravi Zacharias / Illustration Exchange

In a debate between social critic Dennis Prager and Oxford atheistic professor Jonathan Glover, Prager asked:

“If you, Professor Glover, were stranded at the midnight hour in a desolate Los Angeles street and if, as you stepped out of your car with fear and trembling, you were suddenly to hear the weight of pounding footsteps behind you, and you saw ten burly men who had just stepped out of a dwelling coming toward you, would it or would it not make a difference to you to know that they were coming from a Bible study?”

Application:

While atheists are loath to admit that the world needs what Christianity has to offer, they’d most assuredly prefer to be discovered in the wrong place, at the wrong time, by the “pounding footsteps” of young men who are followers of Christ.

Knowing Christ makes a difference–to everyone!

“How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Romans 10:15).

“For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people” (1 Peter 2:15).

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Billions In Unused Gift Cards Stashed In Drawers

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Topic: Stewardship
Scripture: Philippians 4:19; Colossians 4:5
Source: “Unused gift cards total $44B since 2008: study” By Gregory Bresiger, posted NEW YORK POST, January 26, 2014
Author: Illustration Exchange

Have you ever been given a gift that you’ve simply failed to use? Millions have—every day!

“People are letting cash slip away that they could be using,” says John Kiernan, a senior analyst with CardHub:

Kiernan, citing CardHub numbers, estimates that some $44 billion in unredeemed gift-card value has been accumulating since 2008.

“I’m not surprised by that number at all,” adds Bill Hardekopf, CEO of LowCards. “People get these cards and often put them away in a drawer and then forget about them. And that’s too bad.”

Application:

As God’s children, we have been given many invaluable gifts. God’s love has been deposited in our lives in a salvation that brings us forgiveness and healing. We have also been enriched with spiritual gifts that enable us to share God’s love in specific ways, so that others might also know the power of God’s love and healing.

Yet, every day, we fail to annex these gifts or make full use of their great value. We have the riches of the Kingdom of Heaven at our disposal, and the calling of God to use them to impact our world. But like so many consumers, we put the gifts and callings of God away in a drawer and forget about them.

Pull them out! Redeem them! Experience the riches of your new life in Christ!

“And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19, NLT).

“Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity” (Colossians 4:5, NLT).

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The Most Important Things Don’t Have Molecules

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Topic: Faith
Scripture: 1 Peter 3:15
Source: Illustration Exchange
Author: Mitchell Dillon

I am a regularly scheduled spiritual counselor at a local drug and alcohol rehab center. Unfortunately, most of the patients at this center aren’t there in search of spiritual answers, so group sessions can get rather interesting. During one session a particularly cynical young woman objected to my attempt to turn the discussion in a spiritual direction.

“I only believe in the physical,” she said, “what is physical is real, everything else is just a bunch of #$% &#$%.”

Like so many of these men and women who enter rehab at such a young age, she carried herself with a surprising air of self-confidence given her current circumstances. Nevertheless, despite the dead end that had become her life, she was confident that she had it all figured out.

“Really?” I replied. “So, if it doesn’t have molecules it isn’t real. Is that what you’re suggesting?”

Her slumping form came to life as she sat straight up in her chair and leaned more intently into the conversation with a bold and brash, “Absolutely! That’s the only reality!”

With this statement she had laid out her gauntlet. She then relaxed back into her chair with a satisfied smirk, confident that she had done her part to put an end to my foolishness.

Application:

“I don’t believe that and I don’t believe you do either,” I countered.

“What do you mean?” she asked with an ever diminishing interest in the conversation.

“Well,” I said, “things like love and justice and freedom don’t have molecules, yet men and women are willing to give their very lives in pursuit of these things.” I continued, “Doesn’t the importance we all give to these things suggests that they are just as real? How can one thing be more important than something else and yet not be as “real.” Isn’t it true that all of the most important things in life don’t have molecules?”

Disarmed by the questions, she simply rolled her eyes and went mute for the remainder of the session.

“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15).

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No Donuts At The Donut Shop

Printer Friendly Topic: Compromise
Author: Patrick Ronan / Illustration Exchange
Scripture: 1 John 2:15
Source: “Doughnut-less Honey Dew to open in new Quincy YMCA” by Patrick Ronan, published in THE PATRIOT LEDGER, February 26, 2014

THE PATRIOT LEDGER REPORTS:

Tuesday, the city’s licensing board approved a plan to open a Honey Dew Donuts at the café counter inside the new $30 million YMCA … It will be the only Honey Dew store in Quincy. …

Because of the Y’s focus on physical fitness, the vendor won’t sell doughnuts, said Sara Trubiano, spokeswoman for the South Shore YMCA said. …

The new Honey Dew will sell coffee, low-fat muffins, salads, sandwiches, yogurt, fruit cups and smoothies, Trubiano said. All menu items first must be approved by Y leadership.

Application:

How ironic! A donut shop which agrees to sell no donuts. Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? But isn’t that exactly what we do when we compromise our beliefs in order to please the world? A donut shop should sell donuts, and a believer should seek to please God!

“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them” (1 John 2:15).

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Called To Leave Our Mark

Printer Friendly Topic: God’s Love
Author: Illustration Exchange
Scripture: John 13:35
Source: “One Amazing Thing You Never Noticed In Countless Disney And Pixar Movies: What does ‘A113′ signify and why does it keep popping up everywhere?” by Robyn Wilder, BuzzFeed Staff, published on BuzzFeed.com, retrieved 5/4/14

“A113” … It’s everywhere!

  • It’s Andy’s mom’s license plate number in Toy Story;
  • It’s a door number in Monsters University;
  • It’s the courtroom number in Up;
  • It’s the camera model number in Finding Nemo;
  • It’s on a rat’s ear tag in Ratatouille;
  • And it’s the train number in Cars … to name just a few.

But what does it mean?

“A113” was a classroom number at the California Institute of the Arts. “If it appears in a movie,” reports BuzzFeed, “it means that a CalArts alumnus was involved with the animation.” And it’s not just in animated films. The trademark number even appears in live action films like Hunger Games and Mission Impossible.

Like a digital calling card or a cinematic fingerprint, it’s a message to the public … a CalArts alumnus was here!

Application:

What is your calling card, your fingerprint, your message to the public? How will you communicate to the world that you are an alumnus, a disciple of Christ?

Jesus has a trademark number for you to consider. It’s J1335.

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35).

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No Expiration Date On Gratitude

Printer FriendlyTopic: Gratitude
Author: Barnett Gushin
Scripture: Luke 7:47; Ephesians 5:20
Source: Illustration Exchange

While eating and working at a local fast food restaurant, I excused myself to use the restroom. Upon entering the stall, I found a Xerox copy of a hand written note neatly displayed, resting in the leaves of a fake plant. Some of the words were traced with black marker for emphasis. It read exactly as printed below:

I, Susan, Drug Testimony

I was rich, beautiful, sun tanned and a jet-setter for 10 years. But I was A DRUG ADDICT (10 YEARS!) 14-24. My drug of choice was pharamecutical [sic] cocaine. I snorted 1-3 grams/day, took mescaline, peyote, Phenobarbital, seconals [sic], tuinals [sic], dalmane, sopeer 714s (methaqualone), methamphedamine [sic], 50 hits of L.S.D, plus I drank a six pack (or 2) of Heinekins daily. I was a garbage pail drug addict. Give me 50 pills I swallowed them without asking. I was high for 10 years of my life. I never came down, NOT ONCE!!!

I decided to have a baby. (Someone to love me) but I couldn’t quit. I went to N.A. (narcotics ananyous  [sic] AA (Alcoholics Anamyous [sic], psychiatrists. (That was smart, he put me on valium, and I became addicted to that).

I had a drug baby born critically ill with Diabetes, Malabsorption syndrome +2 congenital heart defects. I was SO SAD, I WANTED HER TO LIVE MORE THAN ANYTHING IN THE WHOLE WORLD.

I LOOKED UP ONE DAY AND SAID “IF THERE BE A God, remove this from me. HE DID!!! I Never Took A Drug Again (30+ years). He healed my body. He healed my baby.

Application:

Written inside a small heart at the bottom of the page were the words “Just Jesus.”

I borrowed the note, bringing it back to my table, just long enough to type it up on my laptop. Then I returned it to its place of display in the restroom. As I left the restaurant, I noticed she had placed one on the windshield of every car in the parking lot as well.

Two things impressed me about this public testimony:

First, she didn’t ruin the testimony by defacing the bathroom by writing on the wall or stall door.

Second, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, it’s been 30 years (30 years!) and she is still taking opportunity to broadcast far and wide her gratitude for Jesus and all He’s done for her. Time had not cooled her zeal, her love, her gratitude. I wondered how many other restrooms and windshields had been used as a platform to share her message of redemption over the years.

Thirty years later, Susan wants everyone to know there is hope, and that that hope is in Jesus. I guess there is no expiration date on hope and no expiration date on gratitude.

“I tell you, her sins–and they are many–have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love” (Luke 7:47, NLT).

“…always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20).

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